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Seasons greetings: Warriors, Lakers trade elbows

Michael Traum

Try to tell the North Tahoe Lakers that there’s no rivalry between them and Whittell High School.

In a loosely officiated roundball contest, which had more contact than most football games, the Lakers overcame two nine-point deficits to down the Warriors, 37-32, in nondivisional play on Thursday in Zephyr Cove.

“There’s no love between us. Whittell and Incline are our two closest lake rivals,” said North Tahoe coach Carol Piechocinski. “It’s physical because the officials control the game. I teach my girls to be aggressive but not dirty. If you want to play something that’s not aggressive, play Ping-Pong.”

Leading the physical charge for North Tahoe (4-5) was 6-2, 180-pound Cheyenne Price. The junior collected 20 points and 12 rebounds as the center of the Lakers’ offensive scheme. Numerous times she’d receive a lob entry pass above the smaller Warriors (1-4) before muscling a shot.

“It’s brutal. I think some of us are out there not to play basketball but to hurt people, at least it’s the way it seems to me,” Price said. “There was a lot of hostility going around, especially between me and some of the other players. But that’s gone on for years, like since we were sixth-graders. There is a lot of rivalry.”

Whittell’s Amber Weiss attested to Price’s tough-girl style.

“She was mean and just kept elbowing,” said Weiss, who left the game for awhile after Price tossed her to the floor. “She was trying to get tough, but I didn’t let her get to me. I just kept playing my game and let her play hers.”

The Warriors kept Price quiet with a 7-2 run in the first quarter before she connected on back to back lob plays to give North Tahoe an 8-7 lead.

“We knew going in (Price) was their whole offense. Once she got the ball, we knew she’d be big and round and that we’d have to be physical. We didn’t follow up on what we had to do,” said Whittell coach Lindsay Wines.

Jen Miles regained the Whittell lead, 13-12, with 3:15 to go in the half on a well-executed passing combination under the basket from Sarah Sufka to Aurora Terry to Miles. The Warriors owned a 22-17 halftime advantage.

Whittell’s biggest lead, 29-20, came with 3:00 left in the third quarter when Caitlin Fagen tossed in a running layup. The freshman later matched that advantage with a pretty 10-footer with 20 seconds to go.

But the Warriors saw Price take over, scoring the first seven points of the final quarter before fouling out. Whittell was outscored in the frame, 13-1.

“We just panicked in the fourth quarter and have always had a problem doing that,” Weiss said. “When we get in there with an aggressive team, we have to be aggressive.”

Turnovers and overall lack of mental awareness gave the game away, Wines said.

“I was nervous watching (the Warriors) because they looked like they were trying to evacuate a fire. They had no control or composure,” Wines said.

Miles had 11 rebounds for Whittell, while Weiss added a well-rounded five points, eight boards and seven steals. Fagen led the team with 11 points.


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